Staff Writer & Photographer
One of my Grandma’s favorite meals is a roasted chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, a vegetable, and smothered in gravy. One of the best things during a cold winter night is coming home to the smell of chicken in the oven, knowing that your bellies will soon be filled with warmth and deliciousness.
Buying just the chicken breast and searing may seem like the best affordable option. However, buying a whole chicken will give you leftovers for making soup or a chicken sandwich, so you get more for your buck.
Roasted chicken is relatively easy to make. There are also many ways you can add your pizzaz. Start by cleaning out the chicken. When that is completed pat it dry, and rub oil inside and out of the chicken. Then add the seasoning. I am pretty simplistic, I put garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper inside and out of my chicken, but you can do anything you want. I put a couple of pieces of butter on top of the chicken to melt while cooking. Put some chopped onions on the bottom of the roasting pan with oil and place the chicken on top. You can also put carrots or celery or even nothing at all on the bottom of your roasting pan, but I recommend putting the extra vegetables in because it adds flavor to your gravy.
The oven should be put at 350 degrees. How many pounds your chicken weighs will determine how long you cook it. One pound is 20 minutes, so say you have an 8-pound chicken then that is 2 hours and forty minutes in the oven or whenever the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit. Your chicken could cook longer or shorter, just check on it occasionally. When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven, put it on a platter, wrap it in aluminum foil, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Now off to the sides. Mashed potatoes are easy. I prefer peeling my potatoes, but others prefer not to. Either way just remember to clean the potatoes well. Cut and put them in water with salt and add cloves of garlic. You do a potato for each person you have at dinner and one extra one for the pot to have the perfect ratio of mashed potatoes. Let them boil and give them time to cook. Remove the potatoes from the boiling water when you can push a potato with a fork on the side of the pot and it flattens. Save your potato water for your gravy. I like using my stand mixer to make my mashed potatoes, but a potato masher will work just fine. I put in sour cream, butter, warm milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder if I want more of a garlic taste. From there, mash away and taste and add what you want until you’re happy with your potatoes.
Any vegetable will go with this dish, but I decide to make green beans for this occasion. I wash and cut the green bean ends off and I cut them in half, but it’s up to you. Then I steam my green beans until their green color is more vibrant. This can be done with a steamer or a vegetable basket that you put in your pot. Just put in a little water and salt, and then steam until they’re bright before putting them in a water bath to shock them so they’ll stop cooking. I sear my green beans, so I put oil, butter, and garlic in a frying pan and let the garlic cook and the butter melt on medium heat so there is less chance your garlic will burn. Once the garlic has a light gold color, put your green beans in the mix sprinkler salt and pepper on top and let them cook till they still contain their shape, but don’t have their complete snap.
The gravy is the final touch of this dinner. Scrape everything from the bottom of the pot you used for the chicken and put it in the pot you’ll use for the gravy (sometimes you’ll use the same pot, depending on the size). Add the drippings from the pot you used to make the chicken and then add either water or wine. Turn the heat on high and add wondra, which you can find in all grocery stores. By adding wondra you make a roue then use the potato water and stir. From there it’s all about taste and looks. Keep stirring and tasting the gravy add salt, pepper, or other seasonings you would like. You can also put sour cream or more wonder to add flavor or thicken it up. If it is too thick for your liking, add some more water. When it’s the consistency and taste you want, then strain the gravy.
Now you are all set to enjoy an amazing chicken dinner. Bon appétit!